Ex-Secret Service agent: New rules not really new
(CBS News) With the Secret Service sex scandal still very much in the news, the agency announced new standards Friday to guide the behavior of personnel in the field. But a former agent says they only reinforce rules which have been been in place for years.
The new guidelines "really just put into print principles that have been around for a long time in the Secret Service," said Andrew O'Connell, who's also a former federal prosecutor and is now CEO of Guidepost Solutions, which does security assessments for governments throughout the world.
"The Secret Service goes back 150 years," he told "CBS This Morning: Saturday" co-hosts Jeff Glor and Rebecca Jarvis, "and the culture really is a culture of professionalism. And I think the American people have seen that for a long time."
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What about the allegations about what happened in Colombia?
"General principles have been in place," O'Connell replied. "The specifics that you see in the newly-released guidelines are new. But the principles behind them are not new. And agents have been expected to follow those principles since the beginning of the Secret Service. And I think they have."
" ... I have no firsthand knowledge of what happened (in Colombia). And there's going to be an investigation of what happened. But certainly, over the last 150 years, these principles have been followed. It's just that, from time to time, as with any agency, people use bad judgment, they make mistakes and it gets investigated. Hopefully, something is learned from it."
One provision requires at least two senior supervisors - in essence, chaperones - for agents on some trips abroad.
"That certainly is something that's new and surprising to see that, in effect, you'll have somewhat of a chaperone ... going to foreign countries with the agents," O'Connell said. "I think the agents, for the most part, that have been doing their jobs for a long time, aren't going to be affected by having somebody looking over their shoulder."
Are they offended?
"I suppose some would be. The professionals - and you hope they're all professionals - I don't know if offended is the right word, but certainly (they'd have some) concern that this is necessary."
To see the complete interview, click on the video in the player above.
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